[syndicated profile] 538_politics_feed

Posted by Dhrumil Mehta

Only days after the end of Ramadan and just before the July Fourth holiday, thousands of people gathered at a Chicago convention center for the 54th annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America. Activists, scholars, religious leaders, booksellers, food vendors, and families of many backgrounds speaking many languages attended panels about topics as varied as religion, relationships, politics, cybersecurity and climate change. Despite their diverse backgrounds, many in attendance had two things in common: They were American, and they were Muslim.

Speaking at a panel on political views after the 2016 election, Besheer Mohamed, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center, suggested that an upcoming report would put numbers to the diversity that could be observed at the conference. That survey, released Wednesday morning, is the third in a series of Pew surveys of Muslims in the U.S. taken over the past 10 years.1 It is also a window into the changing attitudes of American Muslims — who make up about 1 percent of the U.S. population2 — on issues such as politics and homosexuality.3

“The key theme that we see regarding U.S. Muslims is diversity,” Mohamed told reporters on Tuesday, ahead of the report’s release. “Among immigrants, no single ethnic group has a majority. … Among U.S.-born Muslims, no racial group has a majority.”

American Muslims are also ideologically diverse. A plurality identify as moderate, with around 30 percent identifying as liberal and about 20 percent identifying as conservative. However, a large majority of Muslims in the U.S. prefer the Democratic Party, and that hasn’t changed since the 2007 Pew survey of Muslim Americans, the first in this series. In the 2016 presidential election, 78 percent of Muslim American voters said they voted for Hillary Clinton, which is a much lower share than the 92 percent who said they voted for Barack Obama in 2008.4

U.S. Muslims tend to be moderate and prefer the Democrats

Share of respondents by ideology and partisanship

IDEOLOGY AMERICAN MUSLIM ALL U.S.
Very conservative 7%
8%
Conservative 14
28
Moderate 39
32
Liberal 20
19
Very liberal 11
9
Don’t know/refused 9
3
PARTISANSHIP
Republican/lean Republican 13%
41%
Independent/no lean 20
9
Democrat/lean Democrat 66
50

Source: Pew research center, 2017

The Republican Party’s reputation among American Muslims seems to have deteriorated in recent years. According to the Pew survey, 59 percent of American Muslims believe the GOP is unfriendly toward Muslims; that’s an increase of more than 10 percentage points since 2011 — when Pew’s second survey in this series was done.5 Nearly three-quarters perceive President Trump to be unfriendly toward Muslim Americans, and 68 percent said he makes them feel worried.

Survey respondents also reported more discrimination. “The data suggests that the number of Muslims who say they’ve experienced a variety of kinds of discrimination is trending upward,” Gregory Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, said to reporters on Tuesday. Three in four said there is “a lot” of discrimination against Muslims in the U.S., and nearly half said they had experienced at least one instance of religious discrimination in the previous 12 months; that’s up from 43 percent in 2011 and 40 percent in 2007. Women said they experience discrimination more than men do.

“It’s worth remembering that the challenges and obstacles that they tell us they face are really nothing new to the Muslim community,” Smith said. Despite concerns about discrimination, more Muslims in the 2017 survey than in the previous one said American people are generally friendly toward Muslim Americans.6 About half said someone had expressed support for them because of their faith, up 12 points from 2011 and 17 percentage points from 2007.

Another notable shift that the 2017 survey found was an increase in the share of American Muslims who say that homosexuality should be accepted by society, reflecting broader trends in the U.S. population as a whole. This change in attitude was present in almost every subgroup of American Muslims, not just the younger generation.

Ani Zonneveld told me that this finding doesn’t surprise her. She is the founder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values, a group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex inclusion in the Muslim community. “We have seen the shift by way of affirmation of our position of LGBT+ rights from straight Muslims through social media,” Zonneveld said in an email. She said she has seen some mosques framing homosexuality as a human rights issue — but she also criticized Muslim institutions and policy organizations, saying that they haven’t gone far enough in advocacy for LGBT issues. In a July 5 news release, Muslims for Progressive Values said it was asked to dismantle its booth and leave the Islamic Society of North America’s convention because of its beliefs. The Islamic Society of North America declined to comment.

In addition to surveying the attitudes of American Muslims, Pew has asked the public about its perceptions of Islam and of Muslims. Although the new Pew report hints at the idea that the public’s view of Muslims in recent years has improved, Mohamed said that “about half of the public says Islam is not part of mainstream society, so we don’t see full acceptance of the Muslim community by the larger public.” He said Muslims continue to be rated more negatively by the larger public than Catholics, Jews, Hindus and many other religious groups are.7 Surveys have shown that most Americans don’t know a Muslim personally, but those who do speak with Muslims — even occasionally — report having more favorable views.

Media coverage might contribute to the perception problem. A recent study by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy found that in reports with Muslim protagonists on three major national TV news networks, Muslim voices were rarely heard. It also found that news coverage about Muslims is often about terrorism and war. According to the Pew survey, 60 percent of American Muslims and 53 percent of the public agree that the media covers Islam and Muslims unfairly. Rayyan Najeeb, 26, who attended the Islamic Society of North America convention, said the media frequently failed to distinguish between the views of Muslims who live elsewhere in the world and the views of American Muslims. Najeeb said he appreciated that surveys like Pew’s give American Muslims the opportunity to speak for themselves: “It really counteracts a lot of the terrorist-next-door type of thinking … and a lot of the fear-mongering that has been happening in the news.”

And publicizing those varying views helps remind people that American Muslims aren’t a monolithic group, said Meira Neggaz, executive director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a research organization that recently began polling American Muslims. “When you look at all these data points, I think it really highlights how people are just people, and it’s really difficult to lump everyone together and just say … ‘Muslims do this’ or ‘Muslims do that,’” Neggaz said. That’s why polls like Pew’s are so important, she said: “The crux of polling is to amplify the voices of people. … They may not be doing a 10-minute interview on CNN, but this is at least amplifying the actual real lives of real people.”

[syndicated profile] theatlantic_politics_feed

Posted by Clare Foran

The Senate voted down a single-payer health care amendment introduced by Republican Senator Steve Daines on Thursday, in a political gambit aimed at putting Senate Democrats on the record on a divisive issue. The amendment failed to pass after no lawmakers from either party voted for it. Fifty-seven Senators voted against the amendment, while 43 voted simply “present.”

Daines’s amendment was far from a true test of Democratic support for single payer. Senator Bernie Sanders, the most popular progressive politician in the United States who supports a single-payer health-care system, denounced the amendment as a “political trick” designed “to embarrass Democrats,” ahead of the vote. His office had previously announced that even he would not be voting for it, giving Senate Democrats cover to reject the amendment as a political ploy.

The Senate is currently debating legislation rolling back, at least in part, the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans are facing immense pressure to pass something after years of promising conservative voters they would repeal the law, but have so far faced setbacks and delays amid internal divisions over how far to go in dismantling former President Obama’s signature health-care law. Democrats, meanwhile, have been united in opposing repeal. Attacking Democrats over single payer, a long-time liberal dream that critics say would be too costly to implement, was one way for Republicans to try and change the subject.

“This single-payer, it's the gold standard for the Democrats,” Daines, who does not support single-payer himself, said in a brief interview on Thursday afternoon ahead of the vote. “In fact in the House, 115 Democrats have co-sponsored this exact bill we're going to vote on today. 115, that's about 60 percent. President Trump, the Republicans, want to make America great again. The Democrats want to make America like England again. This is a clear choice."

Support for single-payer has increased among congressional Democrats in the wake of the 2016 election. According to Daines’ office, the amendment put forward by the senator is identical to single-payer legislation sponsored by Democratic Representative John Conyers, which now has the support of a majority of House Democrats, a threshold crossed after Trump won the White House. Sanders plans to soon introduce his own “Medicare for all” legislation. But Democrats are far from united in embracing single-payer legislation, and congressional Democratic leaders have not included single payer as part of any kind of formal Democratic agenda.

Ahead of the vote on Thursday, Conyers said in a statement that his legislation was being used “as a pawn,” charging that “the process by which the Senate is considering changes to our nation’s healthcare plan is a sham,” and adding that “Senate Democrats are right not to take part in it.”

Sanders took to the Senate floor ahead of the vote to denounce Daines’ amendment. “I suspect that what Senator Daines is doing is nothing more than an old political trick, trying to embarrass Democrats,” the senator said in his remarks. "I hope Senator Daines has seen the light, but I suspect not, and I suspect it's just a political game,” he added.

The Vermont senator added he does hope soon to have a debate, in good faith, on the idea of single payer. “I do hope, by the way, at some point within this debate, if we can, if not, certainly in the near future, to, in fact, be introducing a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program,” he said. “It will be somewhat different than my friend John Conyers' bill in the House, but what it will do is say that in America, if you are rich or if you are poor, if you are a man, woman, and child, yes, you are entitled to health care as a human right and not a privilege."

A better gauge of how many Senate Democrats are willing to back a single-payer proposal will be the number that sign on to the legislation that Sanders plans to introduce.

"Superman", Rachel Platten

Jul. 27th, 2017 04:19 pm
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
So put your armor on the ground tonight
'Cause everyone's got to come down sometime

You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to hold the world in your hands
You've already shown me that you can
Don't have to be Superman
luzribeiro: (Holycow)
[personal profile] luzribeiro posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
What other weird specimens could you tell us about, hmmm?



See more... )
[syndicated profile] atlasobscura_article_feed

Burying evidence is a tried and true way of covering up a crime, but when that evidence is an entire SUV, it’s not so easy.

Still, as Oklahoma’s KFOR is reporting, someone apparently managed to pull it off, after a full 2003 Chevy Trailblazer was discovered buried beneath a trail in Pottawatomie County, suspiciously wrapped in plastic. The truck was discovered by 15-year-old Cody Green, who was trying to adjust a bump in the road that his family uses as a jump for ATVs.

"Went down a little deep and the tractor just stopped," Cody told KFOR. "I went, 'man, what is this?' Well I end up digging some more and got to the hood of it, and, 'This is a car!'"

Green’s father told him not to touch the SUV, and called the authorities. After exhuming the rest of the vehicle, the police were able to identify it as one that had been reported stolen by a previous owner of the land back in 2003, when it would have been brand new.

No one has been charged with a crime in the case, though police suspect that the SUV had been buried as part of an insurance scam.

"We jumped off this car for several years with our ATV and motocross bikes, without ever knowing it," Green's father Fredie told the station.

Guest Post: North America News

Jul. 27th, 2017 02:45 pm
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
[personal profile] stardreamer
The following was originally posted by Daniel on Slacktivist, and is being reproduced here by permission.

* * *


North America

The North American country of the United States of America (USA) was shocked yesterday by the announcement by the President, Donald Trump, a colorful and outspoken reality television star and business-tycoon manqué, that he would strip the right to serve in the nation's armed services from its transgender citizens.

The country, sandwiched between Canada and Mexico and famous as the birthplace of KerPlunk, has for many years been under the influence of a religious sect opposed to modern science, preferring its own superstitious interpretations of gender and sexuality and the military to facts. Among their beliefs is the conviction that electricity, a gift from their God, can be used to permanently alter the sexuality of individuals subject to ritual shocks. While Trump is not himself a member of this sect, many of his supporters and cabinet are - the Vice President, Mike Pence, believes that electrocution and denial of civil rights can "cure" people of their sexual and/or gender identity, for instance, and has been known to conduct rituals seeking to influence the behaviors of his people and indeed entire nations through supernatural means. He is also reported to believe his own "sexual magic" is so strong that to be left alone with a woman he is not married to would lead to inevitable intercourse. Experts speculate this is because in the culture of the sect his silver hair is seen as a sign of divine favor. It is hard to think that in the twenty-first century such beliefs could exist, but this country - still dealing with the consequences of a bitter and bloody civil war and struggling to shed the influence of more than a century of colonialism - is steeped in such superstition.

The President, who has a history of vocal support for wars and the people that fight them - amongst whose numbers he has never been included due to a debilitating recurrent foot complaint - is thought to have made this decision to pander to this sect to receive funding for his own passion project, a great wall separating his increasingly isolated country from Mexico. Though he promised to make the Mexican government pay for it, this was seen in Mexico City as merely bombastic boasting and was met with diplomatic derision. It has now become clear that this was an accurate assessment, and Trump has gone cap in hand to sectarian members of the governing Republican Party to beg for funds for his grandiose white elephant.

While it is characteristic of the regime, which rose to power on a wave of populist resentment and tribal grievance, to not know how policies announced by their President will be effected, it appears not to be troubling his inner circle; in the so-called "White House", or presidential residence, where Trump himself is seen as something like a demi-god, his name cast in enormous gold letters on various sacred sites across the country is deemed to be a powerful influencer of the spirits of wealth and "class" - a peculiar concept something akin to the more familiar machismo though coupled with a deep seated anti-intellectualism and contempt for internal monologue. Indeed, it is thought that simply by saying things Trump is able to make them physically real, and the less proof his followers demand the greater they consider themselves blessed by him.

What is also not clear at this moment is how it will effect the members of the armed services who are currently serving and who are transgender. As there appears to be a reliance on the metaphysical abilities of Trump to alter reality with 140 characters at a time - an extension of the sect's peculiar faith in the power of electricity - and nothing more, it is not certain if the people targeted by his declaration will be fired, or forced back into the closet, or subject to other and worse discrimination. What is certain though is that through his influence and the influence of his cult, the President will have sent a message that the god a significant proportion of the people believe in wants them to discriminate against their fellow citizens.

In a statement today the organization Democracy Within Borders responded:

"It is tempting to look on this benighted and atavistic society governed by an exotic death cult, determined to harm its own people in celebration of their idol, a man cast in gold whom they revere as both its product and its source, with the prurient interest we use for other ex-colonial nations, as a setting for our horror films and travel writing. We should not. The majority of the citizens do not belong to the tribe of their leaders, a fact reflected in the election, in which his opponent received a higher number of votes than he did, that secured the Presidency for Trump."


The peculiar formulation of democracy in the country - a reaction to the government of its former colonizers - means that now in power Trump has called for the arrest and imprisonment of his opponent, for crimes he cannot name nor explain. It is not clear if this is the result of a taboo or géis, or of his paranoia that the legal system of the country might do its job correctly. It appears he believes millions of phantoms cast votes for his opponent, though without being able to ensure her victory. The statement continued:

"It is hoped that the two advanced nations bordering the USA will intervene to try and help those harmed by this decision. In this day and age a nation proclaiming itself great cannot treat its citizens in this way based on crude self-interest and superstition."


* * *

PSA

Jul. 27th, 2017 09:44 pm
yakalskovich: The Nazgul and I in nun costumes at Kaltenberg posing with a bloke dressed as Jack Sparrow (Jack Sparrow makes nuns happy!)
[personal profile] yakalskovich posting in [community profile] ways_back_room
 1. I'm being a bit more sketchy than usual because of medical stuff going on; sorry to everyone whose tags I left hanging today. I just ran completely out of brain; otherwise, the thread gives me life, and I will pick it all up.

2. After a day of being observer and recipient of some bizarrely fucked-up process management worthy of the Galactic Empire, this lovely thread with Bonnie, her toddler daughter, and the Guardians in the rain was just what I needed to relax. <3 Thank you!

Books read in 2017

Jul. 27th, 2017 03:40 pm
rolanni: (readbooks from furriboots)
[personal profile] rolanni
44. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle (e) (re-read)
43. The Rose and the Dagger, Renée Ahdieh
42. Blaze of Memory, Nalini Singh (read aloud w/Steve)
41. The Wrath and the Dawn, Renée Ahdieh
40. Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir, Mark Vonnegut MD (e)
39. The Rule of Luck, Catherine Cerveny (e) (arc)
38. The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
37. The Girl with Ghost Eyes, M.H. Boroson (e)
36. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
35. White Hot, Ilona Andrews (e)
34.  The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, Tom Reiss (e)
33. Mouse and Dragon, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e)
32. Caszandra, Andrea K. Host (e)
31. Lab Rat One, Andrea K. Host (e)
30. Stray, Andrea K. Host (e)
29. The Cat Who Turned On and Off, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
28. Apprentice in Death, J.D. Robb (e/l)
27. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
26. The Face in the Frost, John Bellairs (e)
25. Hanged for a Sheep, Frances and Richard Lockridge (e)
24. Xamnesia, Lizzie Harwood (e)
23. Convergence, C. J. Cherryh, (read aloud with Steve)
22. Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh (e)
21. The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel
20. Etched in Bone, Anne Bishop (e)
19. Rider at the Gate, CJ Cherryh (re-read)
18. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
17. Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. The Cold Eye, Laura Anne Gilman
15. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
14. Memory, Linda Nagata (e)
13.  Bonita Faye, Margaret Moseley (e)
12.  Burn for Me, Ilona Andrews (e)
11. Snuff, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
10. A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (e)
9.  Some Danger Involved, Will Thomas
8.  Thud!, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
7.  White Tiger, Kylie Chan
6.  The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
5.  Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e)
4.  The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e)
3.  The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
2.  Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e)
1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)
[syndicated profile] atlasobscura_article_feed
article-image

At one time, the term “milquetoast” was the go-to slam for bullies looking to belittle the meek. And while it sounds like some sort of French bread dish (and that’s no coincidence), the term originated with an early 20th-century comic strip star named Caspar Milquetoast, who through the subtle brutalities of everyday life became a sort of hero for the timid soul.

The original milquetoast was the creation of the illustrator H.T. Webster. Known as “Webby” to his friends, Webster grew up in rural Wisconsin and started his cartooning career in the first decade of the 20th century, with little formal education. He drew sports cartoons for some newspapers out of Denver, Colorado, before moving back to Chicago, Illinois, where he'd briefly attended art school.

During his years in Chicago, Webster produced satirical political cartoons for papers such as the Chicago Inter Ocean, which proved incredibly popular. According to the introduction to 1953’s The Best of H.T. Webster (published a year after his death), Webster's political cartoons were front-page attractions and even inspired an unsuccessful bill brought before the Illinois legislature to outlaw cartoonists’ unflattering portrayals of state senators and representatives.

article-image

His star rising, Webster took a job at the Cincinnati Post around 1908, where he continued his mostly single-frame strips for three more years, after which he headed off to travel the world. His travel journal comics didn’t prove popular enough to finance his globe-trotting adventures, so soon enough Webster found himself back in the States. He went to work in New York, where he began creating illustrations for the Associated Newspapers cartoon syndicate, and later the New York World and the New York Tribune. During this period, Webster moved away from political cartooning, focusing instead on the comedic strips for which he'd eventually come to be known. In a 1949 New Yorker profile, Webster said, “I didn’t like being in hot water, so every now and then, I’d do a little human-interest picture. [...] I found that drawing human-interest pictures is what I wanted to do more than anything else.”

Webster’s comics often involved a bucolic, nostalgic moment from childhood or a funny, meaningful, usually banal interaction with the modern world. The term “common foibles” comes to mind. He came to grouping them under titles such as The Thrill That Comes Once in a Lifetime, about life’s little victories; Boyhood Ambitions, which highlighted the lofty dreams of children; and Life's Darkest Moment, which were about the small indignities we all weather. Webster’s life was often front and center in his work, with many of his childhood strips recalling his Wisconsin upbringing. His Poker Portraits series was based on jokes around the card game that he enjoyed so much, and love of dogs came out in his collection of canine-based gag strips.

As popular as these comics were, it wasn’t until the introduction of Caspar Milquetoast that Webster became a legend.

article-image

Milquetoast first appeared around 1926, while Webster was working at the World. The character evolved out of an everyman figure that Webster began incorporating into his strips, although he told the New Yorker that even he was a bit unclear about Milquetoast's exact origin. As he solidified, the character of Milquetoast was drawn as a tall, skinny, older man dressed in a scholarly suit and delicate glasses. His most defining features were his bushy white mustache and little derby hat. Milquetoast was literally a caricature of a wimp.

As the character continued to pop up in Webster’s strips, they were eventually grouped together under the title The Timid Soul. Most of the Timid Soul comics involved Milquetoast becoming scared or offended by some seemingly innocuous circumstance, such as finding a blobby piece of art too suggestive, or being too scared to make small talk with a gruff-looking stranger. In a fitting reversal of rough-riding Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, Caspar Milquetoast came to be described as someone who “speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick.” The Timid Soul ran a couple of days a week, mixed in with some of Webster’s other strips, and soon gained a popular following.

Webster often modeled Milquetoast’s experiences on his own. Those who knew Webster described him as having a “hypersensitive consideration” of others' feelings, and an almost pathological respect for authority—so did Milquetoast. When Webster got into golf, or had car troubles, Milquetoast could be expected to go through the same.

article-image

In 1931, Webster’s Caspar Milquetoast comics were collected into a book, also titled The Timid Soul. In the New York Times review of the book, the reviewer describes what made the character so popular. “In his black and white delineation of the life and times of Caspar Milquetoast, [Webster] catches virtually all of humanity at one time or another in its most spineless moments.” Caspar Milquetoast, for all of his sniveling wussiness, embraced a sensitivity and universal weakness that was unlike the macho norms of the early 20th century. “The discovery that there are others just as craven is a sure cure for sensations of inferiority.”

Milquetoast went on to inspire a radio show, and even a television show that ran on the doomed DuMont Network. An article in Time from 1945 began, “Millions of Americans know Caspar Milquetoast as well as they know Tom Sawyer and Andrew Jackson.”

But the most telling sign of the character’s popularity was the adoption of his last name as a generic term for “wuss.” By at least the late 1930s (Merriam-Webster’s marks its first recorded usage in 1935), the term “milquetoast” was being widely used as a general term, outside of its comic strip origins. As Webster’s friend later noted, “Webby lived to see the word 'milquetoast' listed and defined in a standard dictionary.” The illustrator continued to produce comics until his death in 1952, but he would never create anything as iconic as Caspar Milquetoast.

article-image

The term enjoyed widespread popular usage during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. But judging solely by the number of times it pops up in the New York Times' archives, “milquetoast” experienced a steep decline in the late 20th century. Today, it sounds almost hilariously anachronistic, especially in the face of more abrasive, but similar, put-downs like "cuck" or "snowflake."

Despite his mid-century popularity, the character of Caspar Milquetoast has also largely fallen out of the public consciousness. In an age when the basic concepts of sensitivity and thoughtfulness are under scrutiny or attack from seemingly every side, we could use more characters like Milquetoast (albeit updated with evolved views on gender and diversity), who aren’t afraid to own their weakness. As a friend of Webster’s said in the closing bits of the illustrator’s New Yorker profile, “Take a good look at Mr. Milquetoast and you’ll find that the big reason he has such a hard time in this world is that he’s a gentleman. A gentleman with the accent on ‘gentle.’”

My family...

Jul. 27th, 2017 08:15 pm
elisi: (Ponds)
[personal profile] elisi
Very random post, but.

A few weeks ago we watched the pilot for the new The Tick TV series.

As there were sadly no more episodes, we then watched The Seventh Seal.

Somehow I felt this summed us up rather well.

And today I remembered to buy more Earl Grey (we had run out!!) but forgot toilet paper.

So if you wonder what we are like - well, this post is it. :)
[syndicated profile] atlasobscura_article_feed

On Monday, near the Golden Ears Bridge, about 20 miles east of Vancouver, a grenade launcher, some ammunition, and and some electronic equipment fell out of a moving truck that belongs to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

An unsecured hatch was to blame, and the driver of the truck apparently didn't noticed anything was awry until another driver alerted him. An inventory confirmed the missing items—including a 40-millimeter Abrams Airborne Less Lethal Multi-Launcher. That type of launcher isn't designed to be deadly, and shoots things such as tear gas for crowd control.

The RCMP understandably wanted their launcher back, and eventually swallowed some pride and asked the public for help. It worked. After a few hours, the person in possession of the launcher contacted the police.

While it wasn't quite a Broken Arrow situation, people were still upset. Given a choice between treating it as a learning experience or firing someone over it, 53 percent of the voters in the Vancouver Sun's "Daily Poll" on Tuesday opted for firing.

Cherry Pie Recipe

Jul. 27th, 2017 12:45 pm
thewayne: (Default)
[personal profile] thewayne
After discussing and comparing runny cherry pies with my non-runny cherry pie production with [personal profile] stardreamer and [personal profile] murakozi and promising to post the recipe, here's the recipe.

I'm considering using chocolate balsamic vinegar the next time I make one to see what it does to the flavor profile. In discussion on my original post from two weeks ago (hard to believe it's been only two weeks!), I did some research and looked up a lot of cherry pie recipes online. The one thing that ALL of them had in common was that if they included corn starch, and not all of them did, they added it directly to the wet mix! The can of corn starch that I have, Clabber Girl brand, says specifically on the label to mix it with liquid before adding it to whatever it is that you want to thicken. I've added a note to my shopping list on my phone to look at other corn starch brands and see if they also say to mix it with a liquid before adding it to whatever is to be thickened.

So my thought is that if you just add it to whatever is to be thickened that it is overwhelmed by the volume of liquid and can't swell. If you pre-mix it with liquid, in this case an equal amount of lemon juice (and I'm so glad I bought a squeezer thingy!), then you're already starting with a very thick liquid to add to the cherry filling and it thickened beautifully.

I used a pre-made frozen pie crust, and it was wonderful. Currently I don't have cabinet surface area to roll out a pie dough or the guts to try to make one. One of these days....

Cherry Pie
Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total Time: 2 hr 30 min
Prep: 25 min

Inactive: 1 hr 5 min
Cook: 1 hr
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Filling:
6 cups frozen tart cherries

⅔ cup sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (chocolate?)

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Sweet Pie Crust:

1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) salted butter, cold and cut into pieces
¾ cup vegetable shortening, cold and cut into pieces

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough

2 large eggs

5 tablespoons cold water

2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions
For the filling: Combine the cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until the juices release and are hot and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Stir together the cornstarch and lemon juice in a small bowl until combined and add to the cherry mixture. Continue to cook until glossy and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the sweet pie crust:
In a large bowl using a pastry cutter, gradually work the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse meal, for 3 or 4 minutes. In a small bowl, beat one of the eggs with a fork and pour it into the flour mixture. Add the cold water, sugar, white vinegar and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Form the dough into 2 evenly sized balls and place each ball into a gallon resealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (to about 1/2 inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using them immediately, it's still a good idea to put them in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to make the crust, remove the dough from the freezer and let thaw for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

On a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it's a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop, use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over, then continue rolling until it's about 1/2 inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the edges of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge. Fill with the cooled cherry mixture.

Roll out the second dough the same size and place it over the pie. Trim off the edges and crimp the top and bottom crusts together to seal them. Cut a few vent holes in the top. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl for the egg wash. Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar

Put the pie onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is browned, about 50 minutes. If the crust is getting too brown before the pie is finished, cover with foil and continue baking.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
© 2016 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.


Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/cherry-pie.html

Making Decisions

Jul. 27th, 2017 01:57 pm
alisanne: (Snarry hug)
[personal profile] alisanne posting in [community profile] snarry100
Title: Making Decisions
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Pairing/Characters: Severus Snape/Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley/OFC.
Word Count: 100 x 10
Rating: R
Challenge: Written for [community profile] snarry100's prompt# 586: Special.
Summary: Harry's plans run into a roadblock.
Part Twenty-One of the Wisdom Series (LJ/IJ/DW).
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Read Making Decisions on LJ/IJ/DW.

Drabble/Fic: Making Decisions

Jul. 27th, 2017 01:51 pm
alisanne: (Snarry hug)
[personal profile] alisanne
Title: Making Decisions
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Pairing/Characters: Severus Snape/Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley/OFC.
Word Count: 100 x 10
Rating: R
Challenge: Written for [community profile] snarry100/[insanejournal.com profile] snarry100/[livejournal.com profile] snarry100's prompt# 586: Special.
Summary: Harry's plans run into a roadblock.
Part Twenty-One of the Wisdom Series (LJ/IJ/DW).
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Making Decisions )
[syndicated profile] theatlantic_politics_feed

Posted by Taylor Hosking

The Defense Logistics Agency, an agency within the Department of Defense that was recently found to have weaknesses in its equipment-transfer program, is suspending all federal transfers of excess military gear to agencies until they comply with new registration measures, said Mike Cannon, the director of DLA Disposition Services, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday.

Cannon and Mike Scott, the deputy director of logistics operations at the DLA, testified before the panel to discuss the findings of a GAO report, published earlier this month, that revealed that the Law Enforcement Support Office, which is managed by the DLA, distributed “over 100 controlled items with an estimated value of $1.2 million” to a fictitious federal law enforcement agency created by the GAO during its review. Zina Merritt, a director in the Government Accountability Office’s Defense Capabilities and Management team, and Wayne McElrath, GAO’s director of investigation also testified.

“We view this just as seriously. Now that we know these deficiencies, we are all over it to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Scott told lawmakers.

The GAO used forged identification, fictitious law enforcement credentials, and a phony website to apply for LESO membership as a federal agency involved in high-level counterterrorism and security work, according to the report. After gaining access to the online portal, their requests for military equipment were approved in less than one week.

“Without reviewing and revising the internal controls in policy or procedures for verifying and approving federal agency applications and enrollment in the LESO program, DLA and LESO management will lack reasonable assurance of the legitimacy of applicants before transferring valuable, and in some cases potentially lethal, controlled property,” the report stated. DLA has since tightened their procedures, including visiting  federal agencies, and verifying state and local agencies through an FBI database, Scott said Thursday.

Still, lawmakers echoed GAO’s concerns. “There’s more red tape to open up a donut shop than there is to get this equipment,” said Representative Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire.

Republican committee members were noticeably more defensive of the program and its merits in their questioning. Representative Austin Scott of Georgia concluded his remarks with a personal anecdote: “I happen to know a sheriff’s deputy fairly well that stepped out of Bearcat and as he stepped out of it, a bug shot hit the window and had he been in a normal squad car he wouldn’t be with us today.” Armored vehicles are among the items that agencies can apply for through the program.

According to GAO’s report, investigators pretending to be officers made three trips to three different warehouses with forged identification to pick up items, such as night-vision goggles, infrared pointer weapons, simulated rifles, and simulated pipe bombs. At two out of the three warehouse sites, on-site personnel did not ask for identification from the person who came to pick up the weapons. The report goes on to add that for one type of weapon—infrared illuminators—DLA provided three more items than were requested.

During the hearing, Scott said, “The moment Mike Cannon and his agency finds out who those individuals are, the agency will be prepared to take disciplinary action and that can be anything from suspension without pay to removal from the position.”

GAO recommended more stringent practices around properly identifying the agencies that apply to the program, securely transferring the weapons, and conducting a risk-assessment for preventing fraud.

Uproar in 2014 over local law enforcement using military weapons against protesters in Ferguson, Missouri prompted then-President Barack Obama to issue an executive order to create a formal weapons-request process with more stringent guidelines. LESO, which has distributed more than $6 billion in property since its founding, was tasked with the review process.

When asked by Representative Anthony Brown of Maryland if the LESO program takes into account “the actual or potential threat a community faces prior to delivering military style equipment,” Scott pointed to the guidelines established by the Working Group that came out of Obama’s 2015 executive order. The group considered input from both law enforcement and civil liberty leaders when making guidelines.

Over 8,600 law enforcement agencies are currently part of the LESO program. According to the report, agencies typically request extra weapons for “counterdrug, counterterrorism, and border-security activities,” as well as “search and rescue, natural disaster response, and surveillance.”

I am diva, see me strop

Jul. 27th, 2017 07:45 pm
oursin: Photograph of a spiny sea urchin (Spiny sea urchin)
[personal profile] oursin

No, really, if you return to me a copy-edited article for my attention, and mention that you have made changes to the text (as well as changing the title to one that I think is misleading), please to be sending it to me with your changes tracked and marked up.

For if you are going to insult my ability to write English prose, I think I should be able to see how you have 'improved' my text without having to compare it line by line with the text I sent you.

I may possibly have dumped my bibliography on this editor's head...

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